Writing essays is something all college and university students have to do, even though most dread it. Whether the writing is for a class or a contest to win money for tuition, the task can be overwhelming — especially for longer essays. Whether you're living in a dorm or Niagara college off campus housing, you'll probably spend some of your time at home writing essays. Follow these simple tips to produce polished, strong pieces of writing that convey your point with clarity and conviction.
1. Prepare an Outline
To successfully write an essay, it’s always important to organize your thoughts first. Creating an outline or diagram is the simplest way to do this. By putting your thoughts on paper, you can visually see connections between ideas. When brainstorming, let the thoughts flow freely until you’re done. Then, do a quick read-through of the outline and organize it to create a cohesive flow. This will serve as the foundation of your essay, and you can refer back to it often while writing to minimize any stress or uncertainty.
2. Write Your Thesis
The thesis statement tells the reader the point of your essay in one to two sentences. From your outline, you should be able to define the main ideas clearly. The thesis statement should have two parts: the first part states the topic, and the second indicates the point of the essay. Take a look at sample essays online to see if you can find the thesis statement of each one. Then, analyze it and imitate the structure of the statement.
3. Write the Body
The body of your essay will argue, explain, or describe your topic. You'll have a few body paragraphs (typically at least three) which support the main ideas that you wrote in your outline. Each paragraph will have a similar structure. You'll have an introductory sentence, supporting ideas, and a few lines in between that will consist of detailed examples that back up your position.
4. Write the Introduction
Now that you have a defined and refined thesis and body of your essay, it's time to go back and write the intro. It should attract the reader's attention and let them know the focus of the essay. Make sure your intro ties in with your thesis statement for a smooth transition.
The conclusion should sum up your overall ideas and provide a final perspective on your topic. It should have three to five strong sentences that leave the reader with a lasting impression.
6. Read and Reread
After you've finished the essay, it's time to look back and make sure you’ve considered all of the small details. For example, you should double-check that you’ve you followed the guidelines given to you for the essay and proper essay format. The strongest points should be the first and last body paragraphs, and the order of the paragraphs should maintain a logical flow.
Next, check for grammar, spelling, and readability. Rereading your essay out loud can help you find errors that you may have missed. If you want a second set of eyes, ask a friend or advisor to read the essay and provide you with feedback so that you can improve it before the deadline.